One great thing about coffee is that some of the world’s finest beans are quite affordable. But lately, foodies have latched onto a variant of regular coffee that’s ultra-expensive. Civet coffee costs about $150 per pound—about ten times the price of premium fair trade coffee. The beans have been eaten by civit cats, passed through their digestive system, and then crapped out. The digestion apparently removes all traces of the coffee beans’ natural bitterness.
Now that demand is surging for civit coffee, people are doing what they always do every time an animal gets caught up in food production: they’re building factory farms. This lengthy and otherwise excellent New York Times story on the civit coffee trade somehow ignores the ethical dimension of what’s happening, but the lead picture makes things quite clear.
Let’s hope that civit coffee doesn’t become a mainstream fad. Link.